o Devils. I'm ready to work. Let's get Rose Bowl championships." - D.J. Foster
With the collective sigh of relief from Sun Devil Nation still wafting around the Valley following four-star running back D.J. Foster's decision to attend Arizona State, the question now is posed: What does it all mean?
On the field, it means that ASU's offense next season adds another game-breaking weapon. New offensive coordinator Mike Norvell brings to Tempe a spread offense that is virtually identical to the one that Foster ran in at Saguaro High School--including a senior season in which he rushed for 3,058 yards and scored 60 total touchdowns--so the learning curve should be greatly diminished.
Foster is a dynamic talent who can break open a game either as a runner or a receiver, much like Deantre Lewis did during his freshman season in Tempe. With Lewis seemingly coming back strong after an injury-related redshirt season, that duo figures to create havoc with opposing defense out in space. At 6'0", 185 pounds, Foster does not yet have the size needed to be an every down back, but with senior tailback Cameron Marshall coming off a 1,000 yard, 18 touchdown he won't have to be. ASU also has Jamal Miles, whose explosive ability at wide receiver or from the backfield ensures that the Devils should have multiple home-run threats on the field on every play.
Foster's decision also serves as validation of the hard work and effort new head coach Todd Graham and staff have done on the recruiting trail since taking over in mid-December. Coming in to a bad situation following the coaching search fiasco, Graham had to contend with the recruiting dead period in late December, negative media perception and a once-promising class that was falling apart after Erickson's ouster.
Undaunted, Graham and staff pushed on, and made aggressive strides on the recruiting front and especially in the state of Arizona. ASU's record with in-state recruits under Erickson was nothing short of terrible, and the relationship between the university and local high school was strained. With Graham's early efforts and a revamped commitment to local players and coaches, Foster's decision represents a major step to repairing that critical bond.
Most immediately, this announcement comes five days before National Letter of Intent Day and it could have a positive impact on other recruits who may be on the fence. A talent of Foster's stature can move the needle when it comes to other recruits, and during the next few days when commitments may change multiple times, having an ace card may continue Graham's good fortune. Minutes after his announcement, Foster text friend and ASU recruiting target Matt Hoffpauir, who is currently looking at Stanford and Cal.
For now, ASU fans will want to savor this great moment, which comes after two straight months of continuous bad news for the program. Check out Foster's senior highlight reel here.
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